Is Easel the only software you can use with x-carve?

Other than Easel, what other software can be used with the X-Carve?



Hi Gary

You can use any CAD/CAM package that produces gcode. When using another package you need a program like universal gcode sender.

Hi Zach,
Can we operate X-Carve with Mach3.

You would need to use a controller like the TB6560 and replace the Arduino and G shield.

I’m not sure if there is a way to run GRBL with Mach3 @BartDring would know.


@AlanDavis The machine is compatible with Mach3. You just need to use electronics that are compatible with Mach3. I would suggest the the 3 axis DSP controller or a TB6600 (second gen TB6560) based stepper driver.

@Zach_Kaplan grbl and Mach3 fill the same roll in the hardware chain, so you use one or the other.

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Thanks Zach… I will use VCarvePro 8 and Cut 3D with Universal Gcode Sender. I downloaded the Universal Gcode Sender and I like it. Simple and to the point. All that’s left is getting the 4th axis control.


Gary McGowan

Will the Universal Gcode Sender support a 4th axis?


Gary McGowan

grbl does not support it. I am not sure what UGS would do, but there would probably be issues. Mach3, LinuxCNC and TinyG are better suited for that.

Thanks Bart. I agree, I don’t think that’s going to work for me.

Gary McGowan

I am going to use x-carve for belt buckles (aluminum) that will be personalized graphic, text, etc. - what software would you recommend for that - looking for something better than easal but with minimum configuration or new parts…

You could look at this software i have not used it but seen it mentioned around the traps for Jewellery design so it could work for your belt buckles.

@BartDring, @Zach_Kaplan and you seem to mean different things. Zach mentioned the TB6560, while you mentioned a TB6600 (second gen TB6560) based stepper driver.

The consequence is also quite different pricing (TB6560 about 50 USD) and TB6600 (second gen TB6560) or Leadshine MX3660 (well over 100 USD-300 USD).

In my humble opinion, the strength of x-carve is high value and low pricing.

For me, in Europe (The Netherlands), what would that mean: Is there a affordable [Europe based company] substitute to operate x-carve with Mach3 you can recommend (without running the risk of Chinese electronics, or high pricing otherwise)?

@BartDring would always be the one to listen to on this topic.

I am using Easel but need something that gives greater control. I have homing switches but seems like “home” in Easel is rather relative. I dont really want to have a new home every time I start a project. I need something that remains a consistent home every time I start the machine. I want to use that constant home to send the dead center of the router to an xy coordinate on the table so I can machine parts in a template that holds the parts.

So if I place a part at 10" y and 10"x from the home in the bottom left corner, I can tell the software to head dead center to that point. In easel it is all relative as you create the home based on the work area you are using.

I think this could have been a real opportunity for Inventables when manufacturing the table for the x carve to have coordinated the grid with Easel so it would have been a simple command to tell Easel to send the router to Home in the bottom left corner and it would perfectly fall there every time. Then you could place a part on grid at 15"x15" for instance and type in the coordinate in easel and it begins routing there. It would really make it plug n play for new users. I am sure it has something to do with the plethora of options for router setups but if it doesn’t come plug n play how can I make mine that way?

I Use Inventor and have fusion 360 but need to find the time to learn how to use it with x carve. I use windows 7 and would be open to suggestions for a simple solution.

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Take a look at the free trial for VCarve desktop. It is a very easy to use and powerful CAD/CAM solution. It is not cheap at $350 but in my opinion it is worth every cent.

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Thank you Allen, I took a look and it looks like a very useful program esp for 3d models. My first use of the machine is for 2d right now so will hold off for now.

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Thanks Phil,

It occurred to me after posting that I could setup my own grid based on a constant home. Thanks for the link I will take a look

Quick update on this thread:

  1. We now have gcode import in Easel. You can import from pro CAM packages and there is a post processor for many packages and a spec if yours isn’t listed.

  2. We also now have the X-Controller which has 4 stepper drivers that are 4amps each.

Combined you can get a lot more out of the machine.

Aloha Zach - could you elaborate on this?

The gshield has the following:

  1. Three 1.5A stepper drivers
  2. A fan

This meant that the two stepper motors on the Y axis shared a stepper driver. They could only get .75A each max. Also on long carves you risk getting into an overheat condition which could result in skipped steps.

The X-Controller has the following:

  1. Four 4A stepper drivers
  2. A heat sink
  3. A fan

This means each stepper motor can have its own driver and draw more current. More current means higher torque. Higher torque means better performance. The heat sink cools the drivers and the fan blows it out of the X-Controller. It is highly unlikely that it will skip a step due to over heating.

With Easel’s Gcode import feature it means if you want to use advanced tool path methods like helical tool paths and graduated plunging you can run them in your CAM package and import them into Easel. We found using these strategies can result in cleaner carves and less chatter especially on aluminum because you are getting better engagement of the cutting edges of the bit on a continual basis.

Easel now gives you the best of both worlds. An easy way to get started quickly and the ability to take it up a notch in complexity and benefit from the industrial software tools.

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